Glendale Unified Responds to “Grooming” Accusations After Tense School Board Meeting
The Glendale Unified School District is at the center of a political firestorm over gender identity and accusations of sexual “grooming.” The tensions boiled over Tuesday night at the school board’s regular meeting, which drew hundreds of parents, students and activists.
During the public comment period, a special needs student addressed the school board. She said she “got in trouble” for addressing a fellow student by the wrong pronouns. Her mother told the board that she was taught about “scissoring” in sex ed, despite her stated wishes that her daughter not be taught about same-sex acts.
At the meeting, parents also raised concerns about district “secrecy” when a student begins identifying as a gender not assigned at birth. Though consistent with state law, this policy has become an issue at many school districts and has sparked a lawsuit against Chico Unified.
During the Glendale Unified board meeting, the same special needs student alleged that she “once got in trouble in the girls' locker room because I did not dress down in front of other people.” She said there were “male teachers inside the girls' locker room” at the time.
Glendale Unified issued the following statement in response to the students’ claims:
We make it a priority to ensure that every one of our students, employees, and family members feels welcomed, valued, safe, supported, and included in our Glendale Unified community.
Our district follows all California nondiscrimination laws and Education Code policies for serving transgender and gender nonconforming students to ensure the safety and success of every child on our campuses.
California law is very clear that only parents or guardians have the right to change a minor student’s name or gender in their official record. GUSD’s policies follow the law and require the signature of a parent or guardian before an official school record is changed.
Since 2013, state law and the interpretation of state law by the California Department of Education have mandated that students have a right to ask to be referred to by a name or pronoun that might be different from that on their official record.
California law requires that, "students shall have access to the restroom and locker room that corresponds to their gender identity asserted at school." No student is ever forced to disrobe or change clothes in front of any adult at school.
All Glendale Unified locker rooms are equipped with private changing facilities for any student who wishes to use them for any reason.